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What you should know about business website design

Posted by Logan Marshall on August 25 in 8. WebSite Design |

Setting up a new Internet business is a challenge even for the most experienced of business owners, and a keen eye for detail as well as excellent project management are vital to the success of your new business. Without these factors your sales will plummet and you will struggle to keep your head above water or to get your head above water in the first place.

You should try to do as much as you can yourself, but be careful that you don’t take on jobs you have no knowledge of, because this can be as bad as not having the job completed at all.

HTML Programming.

Hyper Text Mark Up Language is a programming language designed specifically to bring some uniformity into the world of website creation. Most HTML programming deals with the formatting of text, pictures and the pages themselves and while there are still a number of websites designed using HTML to great effect, many newer sites are created using more sophisticated programming that allows for a more dynamic website to be created.

HTML became so popular because it was relatively easy to use, especially when compared to many programming languages that preceded it. There are a number of tags that are used to manipulate the text and contents of a website and these tags are basic HTML.

Among the more highly developed forms of HTML are Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that allow you to create more complex and uniform templates for your web pages, JAVA allows your website some extra dynamic attributes so you can involve your visitors more during there visit to your site and Dynamic HTML (DHTML) that allows you to display your pages differently depending on your visitor’s actions.

Learning the basics of HTML can be done in a matter of hours but often putting this into practise and creating a good looking site with the knowledge you have gained is a much more difficult process. For this reason, if you do not have HTML knowledge and you want a website that offers more than informative text, a couple of images and a couple of links you should consider outsourcing the work to a knowledgeable professional. Not only can they build your site a lot quicker and cleaner, but also the service is getting cheaper and cheaper as more and more people learn the trade.

Computer automation.

Arguably the greatest asset that a computer brings to any environment is how easily tasks can be automated. There are things we do every single day over and over again, but by using your computer to automate these tasks you can save time, money and effort. Once upon a time computer automation was reserved for industrial uses and for standard documents but the use of computer automation has grown incredibly and many offices find they have a large number of tasks that can successfully and effectively be automated by any computer.

Sales calls are widely automated with computer systems that ring several numbers at the same time and patch the first call through that answers while hanging up on the rest. If you’ve been subjected to one of these calls you will undoubtedly know the annoyance that they can cause some people but it is still an effective process.

Sending faxes and emails can be automated without causing this aggravation and by setting up automated tasks you can easily send out follow up faxes and emails to customers who have purchased items or those who have willingly given you their details. Auto responders are not so much a luxury now, as they are a necessity and managing the emails you send out regularly is vital to your sanity and your survival.

Graphic Design.

Graphic design is a skill that has become much more widely sought after because of the advance of the Internet and the increase in the number of people setting up their own websites. As part of customer branding it is vitally important that any graphics related to your company are associated with your brand. Your logo and any advertising banners you use desperately need to look good, relay a message and be relevant to your site and your company. If you can achieve this then they will be effective in bringing you sales and impressing your customers.

One well-used option is to use the services of a freelance designer. There are a number of websites set up specifically to bring webmasters and designers together in one single marketplace. Using one of these sites gives you access to hundreds, possibly even thousands, of professionals who bid to win your business. This means you get high quality work at affordable rates. Gone are the days when graphic design cost a fortune and only the richest of companies could afford it.

It’s quite possible that you already have a design in mind and you just need to get that design down on paper with a little bit of fine tuning. Freelancing is still an option, because a professional designer will be able to take the elements of your own design and tweak them to perfection. They also know the standard sizes and other factors that can be used when creating logos or banners.

If you are artistic and more than slightly gifted with a computer yourself, then there are a number of software packages available for little more than the cost of hiring a designer and these packages will provide you with templates to work from and give you the size elements that you require for banners and logos. Do be warned, though, if you use graphics already on the Internet you need to find out about any copyright laws that govern the use of these graphics.

Some websites offer free templates that you can modify to create your very own custom logo. While they do look professional there is always the danger that using templates of this nature can lead to a logo or design that has already been tried, tested and used over and over again. If possible you should stick to completely original designs.

Website content.

Content is king; it says so all over the Internet. In the early days of websites and search engines there was an overwhelming tendency just to cram in as many keywords as often as possible in order to dupe the engines into thinking that you had a page full of relevant content, but those days have gone. Simply cramming website content is no longer an effective method because algorithms have been built into search engine spiders and the over use of a keyword is seen as spamming, a practice for which you will be heavily penalized and in some cases banned by search engines.

The use of website content it two fold. Firstly, it must indicate to search engines that your website is based around a certain topic. This is achieved by the effective use of keywords and their placement within the text of your site. Secondly, you must obviously have content that will be as equally appealing to your visitors. Getting this mix can be quite difficult, too many keywords often stand out to visitors and too few mean your site won’t get the free exposure you probably crave.

If you consider yourself something of a literal laureate then you can create your own website content. You should find a keyword density of around 5% to be sufficient to your SEO requirements and still informative to your visitors. There are websites that offer free content, but you should bear in mind that other websites will probably have the same content. Again, search engines frown on this and you may be penalized for using it.

Employing a freelance writer is a good way of having keyword rich but still informative content written for your site. Writers again operate from freelance work exchanges and many even have their own websites.

Customer Portal.

A customer portal is a backend system that many websites use to good effect and for good reason. It allows your customers to log on to their account, see their account details and keep in regular contact with you. It also allows you a similar privilege. Simple customer portals will allow a customer to track the status of purchased items and to determine when they will be delivered while more complicated systems can have account funding, product requests, product and service reviews and much more.

The more you can persuade a customer to use your site and visit it more frequently the more chance you have of selling your product or service to them. By giving them access to their own area within your website you are actively encouraging visitors to return. Returning customers are an excellent source of revenue because you know they already have some sort of interest in your company and the products you sell so selling further products to them shouldn’t be a problem.

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